California wines sales to the U.S. market in 2008 edged up 2% in volume over the previous year to an estimated 467 million gallons (196.3 million nine-liter cases).
The estimated retail value of these shipments totaled approximately $18.5 billion, down slightly from 2007, according to Gomberg-Fredrikson & Associates.
Total California winery shipments to both the U.S. and export markets increased 3% in volume to 570 million gallons (239.8 million nine-liter cases) last year.
“Consumers are enjoying California wines during these challenging economic times,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “However, Wine Institute is currently fighting proposed tax and fee increases across the country at a time the industry is trying to preserve 875,000 wine-related jobs in the U.S., 309,000 of which are right here in California.”
The top varietal wines by market share in U.S. food store volume were: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and White Zinfandel, accounting for over half of the sales. Notable gains by case volume in food stores were Cabernet Sauvignon (up 8%), Chardonnay (up 4%), Pinot Noir (up 16%), Pinot Grigio (up 6%), Sauvignon Blanc (up 6%), Riesling (up 10%) and Merlot (up 2%).
Overall sparkling wine/Champagne consumption declined 3% in 2008 to 32 million gallons (13.4 million cases), compared to the previous year. California sparklers, however, grew 1%, accounting for 58% of the total volume sold, while foreign sparkling wine declined 8%. The sparkling wine/Champagne category represents about 4.2% of all wine sales in the U.S.